March 4, 2017
As a reminder, you can quickly see all the posts for this project by clicking here, and you can also see full-screen versions of all the photos from all the posts by clicking here to go to my secret Kitchen Renovation album at my SmugMug site. Enjoy-
Well, here she is at about 95 percent completion in 5 weeks. : )
At this point in the project I must say I am at a complete loss for words. I am utterly stunned by the beauty and regal color combination now that everything is in place! I have done an incredible amount of research, used an incredible amount of patience, and then once we were ready- we pulled the trigger and it has been non-stop in the Wyman household from January 27th until today… and there is still a wee bit more to go.
When I came home from work yesterday and found the granite counters installed, I nearly fell over. I cannot believe how much more beautiful the granite is in the final polished version compared to the sample block we had from the store. The blues are incredibly powerful and when all the artificial light is off and the sunlight hits it through the windows, it truly comes to life. The natural silver tones tie in the appliances and floor perfectly. In all, I do not think a more perfect combination of color and style exists!
I ordered it with the ogee edge, which is the step and rounded style as opposed to the basic edges that appeared a little sharp. This turned out to be a fantastic decision.
We have a full suite of General Electric appliances and they are in stainless steel. Originally, I had intended to use a black steel finish but after a lot of soul searching, we decided on stainless. For anyone who might be considering some of the new finishes, let me give you a few points to consider: Samsung’s black stainless is different from LG’s, which is different from KitchenAid’s, and GE makes something called slate. They are all different colors. And they are all the latest greatest gadget. While you are thinking about that, think about this: What happens in 10 years when the dishwasher quits? Well, if, IF, black stainless is still even a thing… you are stuck with the brand you have or nothing will match. And if black stainless goes out of style, then you are up the creek anyway.
Additionally, the black stainless is a tinted clear coat that goes over the stainless steel. If it gets scratched, then a super bright stainless steel line shows through. Testing some floor models, I can confirm that all the brands scratch fairly easily.
But as it turns out, stainless looks consistent among all the brands. It has been out for quite some time, and remains pretty popular.
Finally, I felt that the darker steel would make the kitchen look just too dark. I wanted bright panels of stainless steel to reflect all the light in the kitchen- and it does that admirably.
Floor looks wild, right??
The window trim has not been installed yet. Getting there. : )
I chose General Electric because I am absolutely sick of appliance review websites and went with good past experience: We had functioning GE appliances in there previously, and our house in Georgia had flawless GE appliances as well.
Additionally, GE is the only one of the major players that has a decent range top with grates close enough together that our espresso pot does not want to teeter over. I’m serious- next time your at the store take a look at how wide the gaps are on LG and Samsung. I was really surprised.
The center griddle has a wide oval shaped burner beneath it for cooking pancakes, omelettes, grilled cheese, whatever else we can find. It has beveled edges to let the excess oils fall down to the sides instead of just floating around the pan. We also have a grid iron piece that can be swapped in to have a uniform presence if we want. The oven is a convection oven. Judging by our small toaster oven, convection is a real science that works. It has a fan to blow the heat around to help cook more evenly as opposed to hotter air on the underside than the top side (because the burners are beneath ovens, unless using the broiler).
Above the stove we have our microwave. 400 cubic feet per minute of precious flavor-infused oxygen is pulled from the burners below and sent outside through the tidy ductwork.
We want the ravenous squirrels to smell our culinary creations.
Nice job the way I ran the base trim under the cabinet back to the wall, yes? Looks far superior to the wood simply ending. It cannot continue under the microwave because of the natural gas flame throwers burning below.
These torches are not friendly with maple trim. Pretty, though. See our awesome coffee pot? You’ll never have a better brew with anything less than this simply perfect percolator.
I am so please with this Elkay 18 gauge sound-dampened stainless deep bathtub! The granite installers cut out the template and mounted the sink for us with a perfect 1/8th inch overhang so that everything we sweep towards it will have no choice but to drop down to the sink. The Moen stainless faucet has the pulldown feature and has normal spray and the shower head feature. So, you know, if the shower breaks…
But that black hole down below? What its that?
This 475 horsepower twin-screw top-fed side-disposed nuclear-powered megamouth Insinkerator food disposal is a BEAST! (Really, it is a 3/4HP insulated unit on its own dedicated 20A circuit breaker)
Now before I go any further, let us reminisce about the past.
This simply does not meet my standards.
I have yet to zip tie my lines together for neatness. But that will happen shortly. I just hooked this up yesterday afternoon when I got in from work.
This is the mid-range Insinkerator, and I really can’t see the need to upgrade to the platinum edition. This unit is incredibly quiet, and it has a pretty impressive anti-shock system to ensure that nearly zero vibration is transferred outside the unit. When it is running, we can have normal conversation in the kitchen. In fact, I think the running water from the faucet is louder!
And the power? Plenty. It is a two-stage unit. I threw an entire bushel of romaine lettuce in there. Gone. I threw a whole lemon in there. Gone. Hell, I might start throwing scrap wood in there!
And the mouth is large enough to put my hand in there should that be necessary.
But did you notice my full accompaniment of steel braided water lines? I got the full set! For the sink, for the dishwasher, and for the fridge.
Next, we have the bowl and plate spa.
Stainless steel outside and within. This is a three rack system. The lower rack is kind of standard, with the exception that the rear racks fold flat so we can wash large pans or pyrex if we want to.
I want to.
The mid level raises and lowers a few inches, should it be necessary for taller items down below or within that mid rack.
The top rack is like a flat tray, but it is full of ridges to hold silverware, knives, and cooking utensils neatly in position.
There are sprayers on the top of the tub shooting down, under the mid level rack, and of course at the base level. Those little red things you see are four bottle jets. So we put the water bottles, thermos, or water over those jets and it sprays water to ensure it reaches the top of them. It certainly does not hurt.
I’d like to mention a couple of points I learned about dishwashers: Many of them do not have heat coils anymore, and it is because of energy efficiency standards. Samsung goes as far as for “drying,” it automatically pops the door and turns a little fan on. To me that seems silly. GE has normal heater coils and also has a food disposal in the unit. This just makes sense to me. The more important part of those heat coils is they ensure the water in the unit remains scalding hot so things get properly cleaned, too.
I save enough with all the LEDs, I don’t need a fan to dry my dishes, I need the power of the sun.
I absolutely love this refrigerator.
I have never been a big fan of in-door ice dispensers. I just haven’t. I like clean lines with everything. That’s why I bought the dishwasher with hidden controls, as well. So what we have found with the GE is pretty neat:
The big drawback we found with the in-door ice makers on French-door refrigerators is that the ice unit either takes up a large portion on the upper left corner (Samsung, GE, Whirlpool), or, it takes up pretty much all the in-door space on the left door (LG). Neither of those are great, so I was going to just do without a water dispenser. That it, until…
Until I looked at the left wall in the GE. None of the other brands have this, as far as I know. It is genius. There is a large water tube coiled in the fridge to keep the water cold, just like the other units, and then all we are exposed to is this dispenser. Absolutely brilliant!
Down in the freezer we have the ice maker, which produces a lot of ice! And trust me, we use it. I think this is a brilliant way of working because we have this wide-open bucket of loose ice cubes. We don’t have to open doors, reach into small buckets, deal with ice flying out of the door… it just works for us.
On the opposing wall, where we once had nothing, we now have a series of cabinets and a nice expanse of counter space for odds and ends. The 2x4s will be replaced with corbels or table legs once I decide which way I want to go with it, but for the mean time I needed to have something there for the installers.
Under-cabinet lights are the best invention since the wheel. I’m just saying…
Here you can almost just see the light under the cabinet. It is dimmable LED strips that are angled to shine out towards the back wall and reflect down, thereby eliminating all shadows while working. I wired all of them in series and they run off one switch by the sink for convenience.
That granite is simply amazing…
Finally, as we step over to the hallway we have the pantry. I decided to use adjustable shelves instead of fixed shelves because I am indecisive and I might want to move things around. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I replaced the original style of zero lighting for the pantry with a four foot long LED strip mounted vertically so that every shelf is in full bright light. I love LED…
Nothing hides in our pantry now!
I was going to put a strip on the other side as well, but we live pretty close to the airport and I don’t want the planes getting confused…
So, that’s where we are at!
Still to go is the corbels under the second counter, the baseboard, and I am going to paint the pantry and other hallway doors and moldings white. This will match the way I have the rest of the house. Additionally, I need to build a molding package to go around the garden window by the sink and probably a few more small things as well.
I must say I am thoroughly impressed with Cesar from Home Depot #908 here in Clifton- There are a lot of very small details in our cabinetry that would not exist had I tried to simply do this on my own. Additionally, the install teams that were contracted by Home Depot for the floors, sheetrock, and cabinet install were great workers and a family business- which really counts for something, in my book. We are very pleased with their efforts and how all this work turned out.
Here are a couple more snaps in closing:
During the renovation, I moved our range cooktop to the basement and set it on my sawhorses so that we could still have morning coffee. As you can see, the wash basin I installed last year became the kitchen sink.
It is almost as though I knew this day was at hand…
This is how it looked when I came home from work two Wednesdays ago. I installed all the appliances myself, because there was no way the free installation, or even the paid installation, would result in a job as neat as I had it done.
And now for a few before-afters…
Gorgeous granite. Earth is an amazing place!